NEW YORK — Jimmy Vesey had a goal and an assist against his former team, Carter Hutton stopped 37 shots, and the Buffalo Sabres held on to beat the New York Rangers 3-2 Friday night.
Zemgus Girgensons and Sam Reinhart also scored to help Buffalo get just its second win in seven games.
Hutton had six saves in the first period, 10 in the second and 21 in the third when the Rangers tried to rally from a 3-0 deficit.
Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider scored for the Rangers, and Alexandar Georgiev finished with 25 saves.
Vesey, who played three seasons for the Rangers before his trade to the Sabres last July, pushed Buffalo’s lead to 3-0 with 8:04 left in the third for his eighth.
Zibanejad ruined Hutton’s shutout bid with his 22nd goal with 2:53 remaining. Artemi Panarin and Marc Staal had assists on the play.
Kreider then pulled the Rangers within one with his 20th of the season on the power play with 1:38 left. Kreider has goals in eight of the past 11 games.
That was as close as the Rangers got.
The inconsistent Rangers were coming off a 5-3 home win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, two nights after they were smothered at the Garden by the Dallas Stars by the same 5-3 margin.
The Sabres had lost at home, 4-3 in a shootout to the league-worst Detroit Red Wings, on Thursday.
Georgiev’s was making his first start since Jan. 21, a 4-2 loss at home to the Islanders. The Rangers have been carrying three goaltenders on their roster since Igor Shesterkin was recalled from Hartford on Jan. 7. Shesterkin is 4-1 since his ascension while Henrik Lundqvist has dressed as a backup to Georgiev or Shesterkin on most nights over the past month.
Georgiev had won two of his last three starts – both against the Islanders. He fell to 12-11-1 on the season. Lundqvist has a 10-11-3 mark.
The Sabres had lost three straight against the Rangers while being outscored 15-5. New York had won seven of the last 10 meetings at home.
Girgensons opened the scoring with 9:34 left in the first, getting his 10th goal of the season on a nifty move to beat Georgiev. Girgensons fooled the goalie as he skated into the crease, eventually sliding the puck into the net to Georgiev’s right.
Reinhart made it 2-0 with 4:44 left in the second, scoring his 20th on a breakaway. Sabres captain Jack Eichel and Vesey drew assists as Reinhart backhanded the puck over Georgiev’s left shoulder. It is the fourth time in five seasons Reinhart has reached the 20-goal mark for the Sabres, who drafted him with the second overall pick in 2014.
The Rangers scratched F Micheal Haley, D Brendan Smith and G Shesterkin. … The Sabres scratched D Zach Bogosian and C Rasmus Asplund. … Buffalo also continued to be without injured forwards Kyle Okposo, Victor Olofsson, Vladimir Sobotka and G Linus Ullmark. … The Rangers won the previous meeting 6-2 at the Garden on Oct. 24. … The teams meet again March 22 in Buffalo. … Sabres D Rasmus Dahlin returned after two-game absence with an upper-body injury.
Rangers: Host Los Angeles on Sunday night.
Sabres: Host Anaheim on Sunday.
Allan Kreda, The Associated Press